Traditionally, fine art prints or original prints are etchings, drypoints, engravings, lithographs, block prints, and serigraphs - all meeting standards set by the Print Council of America. printcouncil.org/ Original prints are produced by hand presses, are created directly on the plate, block, stone, etc., using pigmented inks and are sometimes hand-tinted by the artist. Editions of these prints are usually limited to a few hundred or less, thus insuring rarity, collectibility, and value.
In the early 1970s, large national companies began to produce photomechanical offset reproductions of paintings issued in large editions. Although they were hand-signed by the artist and advertised as "limited", some editions were so large as to be considered unlimited by standards of just a few years earlier. Moreover, the offset dye inks were not permanent and if the "print" was exposed to light, it would soon fade.
Today, there are new printing techniques, using permanent inks, that make it possible to own a hangable reproduction of a painting by an artist whose work would otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable. Many are produced in small editions. The designation for such work is "photomechancial reproduction" and not the time-honored term, "print".
Original Etching by Sandy Scott; 7 X 9 3/4